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Programming the Wireless Web

November 2, 2000

Sebastopol, CA--According to some estimates, 75 percent of web document viewing by the year 2002 will be through non-desktop devices, many using wireless technologies. Clearly, the future is wireless. Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is an initiative created by Unwired Planet (Phone.com), Nokia, Motorola, and Ericsson to develop a standard for creating applications that run on cell phones, PDAs, and other wireless devices. WML (Wireless Markup Language) and WMLScript are languages used to write these applications.

O'Reilly's most recent release, Learning WML & WMLScript (Frost, $34.95), gets developers up to speed quickly on these technologies, mapping out in detail the Wireless Application Environment, and its two major components: WML and WMLScript. With these two technologies, developers can format information in almost all applications for display by mobile devices, such as cell phones, and enables the user to interact with the information.

"Since WAP works in a mobile environment, it also has to contend with the particular problems of wireless networks; low bandwidth (9600 bps or less is commonplace), high latency (round-trip times of the order of seconds are not uncommon), and unreliability (someone may be using her WAP phone when the train goes into a tunnel or when she walks past a tall building)," says Martin Frost, author of Learning WML & WMLScript. "Everyone with a mobile phone knows about the reliability problem. These problems are why WAP is necessary. And at the heart of WAP, from the point of view of the developer, is WML."

Different design rules apply to a small (1.5 inch by 3 inch) display than to content displayed on a 17" monitor. Content must also be designed to work uniformly on a wide range of environments. WAP-and WML and WMLScript-provide an answer to these problems. Learning WML & WMLScript is the resource for web or application developers who want to be on the wireless cutting edge. Don't get left plugged in-the future is wireless, and it's here.

Online Resource:

Learning WML & WMLScript: Programming the Wireless Web
By Martin Frost
October 2000
1-56592-947-0, 208 pages, $34.95 (US.)

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